Sheffield United v Leeds: Side markets offer the value at Bramall Lane

Blades boss - Chris Wilder
Sheffield United manager - Chris Wilder

Leeds make the short hop to Sheffield to face the Blades in the Premier League's first Yorkshire derby in almost 20 years. The betting is tight and Steve says that is right...

“The Blades have had fewer shots than any other team in the Premier League so far this season and Leeds haven’t been creating umpteen opportunities either, they’ve just been ultra- efficient, so we probably shouldn’t expect goals on Sunday.”

Sheffield United v Leeds
Sunday September 27, 12:00
Live on BT Sport

Wilder's Blades looking to get a foothold

Following their promotion from the Championship, Sheffield United were the surprise package in the Premier League last season. Having been favourites to go straight back down again, they even flirted with European qualification before ending up finishing ninth after a slightly disappointing finish to the season.

Having ended their last campaign with three defeats in-a-row, and having begun this season with a 2-0 defeat at home to Wolves and 1-0 loss at Aston Villa, the Blades are on something of a sorry run and if they get beaten again on Sunday, they will have started a league campaign with three consecutive losses for only the third time in their history.

Looking at their first two matches, it would be easy to assume that second season syndrome has struck but Chris Wilder's side have played better than their results suggest. They were 2-0 down against Wolves inside six minutes but they went toe-to-toe with them after that and a controversial John Egan sending off in the 12th minute severely hampered them at Villa Park.

Can Leeds continue to be so efficient?

In contrast to Sheffield United's inauspicious and somewhat dull start, Leeds' first Premier League campaign in 18 years has begun with an almighty bang.

The Whites came from behind to draw level three times with Liverpool in their opening fixture but Mo Salah scored from the penalty spot for a second time in the 88th minute to make it 4-3 and they left at Anfield empty handed, only to be involved in another seven goal thriller in week two...

A fifth minute Helder Costa strike settled Marcelo Bielsa's side in their first home game of the season against Fulham, and Leeds went into the break with a 2-1 lead after both sides were gifted penalties after a pair of rash tackles.

The Whites extended the lead to 4-1 inside an hour and they were matched at 1.011/100 in the outright market, with victory seemingly assured, but it was far from plain sailing after that. Leeds were far from convincing and the visitors scored twice in five minutes to peg them back to 4-3 with still more than 20 minutes on the clock.

To their credit, Leeds did see the game out fairly comfortably in the end but they're taking more of their fair share of chances and even Bielsa knows that isn't sustainable.

"This won't be a constant all year. It is very difficult to maintain the efficiency we have had in these first two games. The characteristics of our game is to create goalscoring opportunities. In these two games we have created very little but we have scored all our chances."

Leeds had an xG of 0.33 against Liverpool and 1.43 against Fulham, so he's not wrong.

Side markets offer the value

The market is struggling to split these two sides and I'm not going to attempt to do so either. Wilder rousing his troops to a first win of the season would be far from surprising but back-to-back victories by Bielsa's boys wouldn't raise a single eyebrow either.

Marcelo Bielsa shout 1280.jpg

These two are very hard to split and a draw is probably the logical selection in the outright market but we're yet to see a single stalemate in the Premier League this season and that's certainly off-putting. This is a trappy affair that's too hard to call but there looks to be a bit of value in the side markets.

The Blades have had fewer shots than any other team in the Premier League so far this season (13) and Leeds haven't been creating umpteen opportunities either, they've just been ultra- efficient.

We probably shouldn't expect goals on Sunday.

Looking back to last season, there were more than two goals scored in only 32% of Sheffield United's home games and both teams scored only 32% of the time.

And in the Championship, games involving Leeds saw three goals scored only 35% of the time and both teams found the net in only 37% of matches involving the Whites. Those percentages went up to 39% and 43% respectively when Leeds played away from Elland Road but I'm happy to play No in the Both Teams to Score market at odds-against and Under in the Over/Under 2.5 Goals market in a game that hints at being a tight, low-scoring affair.

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